Friday, October 31, 2014

Scary Things

Things which scare me are too numerous to mention.  Since it is Halloween today, being scared is on all of our minds.  I am afraid that the media really feeds in to my neurotic alarm, setting if off when ISIS is mentioned, crazy religious fanatics lopping off heads, taking over Syrian towns with the poor Kurds trying to fend them off. Ebola is a major lead story talked about so much, image after image is shown with people in hazmat suites and goggles as if the air they breath will make them come down with the dreaded disease.  I wonder how folks reacted to the Plague in the Middle Ages, with no radios, TV, social media and newspapers to keep them informed, just a town crier?  Which makes me think that the evening news should be renamed Town Criers as the news readers get some sort of thrill of introducing yet another boogie man for us to look out for.  Children are afraid to go out into the woods any more to enjoy the surprised and delights of nature.  Isn't that a shame?

I read the papers and they, too, to a degree try to scare us but usually with more information than 3-second sound bites on TV.  There are medical reports and nutritional scares, what to avoid, what new food groups not to eat or more of them to eat.  What goes into our bodies and create havoc with diseases attacking our cardio vascular and circulatory systems our arteries clogged with a number of GMO foods. 

There are so many things to be scared of that I don’t need Halloween to remind me, as I am in a constant state of Halloween awareness everyday.  My adrenalin is constantly pumping away trying to alarm my avoidance reflexes.

I think the cave man had it pretty easy. All he had to be scared of was the saber tooth tiger and a constant fire at night in the cave would keep the creature at bay.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Polar Bear Attack

He staggered into the bar and then he told the most amazing story I could not stop listening how he survived a hungry polar bear not out on the tundra but right here in town. 

Jackson was disheveled, torn snow pants, scratches on his face, his fleece parka had a big rip down the back.  His hands were shaking as he tried to drink a brandy offered by one of the guys at the bar.  All conversation stopped and heads turned to his direction.

“So, OK, I was a little swacked out, but the full moon helped me to find the way.  I had just come back from working my trap line and was a little dizzy. Shouldn’t have had that shot at the Lazy Bear Lodge on an empty stomach.  I was just rounding the corner of Munck Street when a huge thing lunged at me from the shadows.  Damned if it wasn’t the biggest bear I had ever seen. He didn’t let out a growl but threw himself on me and I fell onto two garbage cans, thems what saved me I think.  The rattle and clatter of the cans must have scared him off, but not before he took a couple of big swipes at me.  Jeeze, look at my parka.  It’s a mess and I haven’t the money to have it sewn up.”

With that Mrs. Running Deer spoke up and said,  “I’ll fix it for ya, just happen to have my needle with me.”

Jackson took off his parka and laid it down on the table in front of Mrs. Running Deer.  “Much obliged, Ma’am.” 

Three of us grabbed our rifles and headed out to Munck Street to see if a bear was on the prowl.  We found the two garbage cans tipped over and one of the lids was wired shut.  A couple of piece of wire stuck out like a brush and there were bits of fabric on them.  We didn’t see any bear prints but we did see Mrs. Andreason’s white sheets flapping in the wind.  One of the sheets was down on the ground in a bundle.  My buddies and I then determined what had really happened.  Jackson did not meet a polar bear.  He met up with some white sheets moving in the wind and he thought it was a bear coming at him, too much John Barleycorn in his system.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Heavy Bag

The old man carried a large bag over his shoulder and he was staggering under its weight. I had been watching him for several days and the bundle seems to have gotten bigger and bigger since I first saw him. The bursting bag was well-worn, furls of weaving strained at the seams. 

I had just made a fresh pot of coffee and had two warm cinnamon rolls from the bakery across the street.  I put a thermos of coffee and the two rolls and some napkins, a tablecloth and a few packets of sugar into a bag and walked down from my flat into the street towards the man with a bag.  He had stopped in an alley to rest up from his heavy load and was sitting on a packing crate.

“Say", I said, “I hope you don’t mind but I have been watching you the past couple of days and wonder if you would like to join me for coffee and a roll?”

“Mighty nice of you, Miss, I could use the pep up to continue my walk.  It has been a long morning.”

He was dressed in well-worn brown fire hose canvas pants patched at the knees, stained in oil, a tattered quilt jacket over two moth eaten wool sweaters and tweed flat cap.

I laid out a tablecloth and poured two cups of steaming coffee, then placeed two tin plates with cinnamon rolls on them.  The vagabond seemed pleased.

“Sugar?” I asked.

“Two packets please,” he said.

I stirred the coffee and handed it to him.

“I am curious”, I said, “It isn’t polite to ask but I have been wondering what have you been carrying around in that huge bag.“

“Full of dreams,” he said.


“Yes, and the load gets heaver and heavier. Because I just keep adding to them.”

"Can’t you get rid of them?"

"I had the opportunity a long time ago to act on them but I kept putting them off, saying someday…Now I am burdened with the weight of them."

"I am sorry."

"So all I have to say, Miss, is to act on your own dreams now or you will be burdened with them for the rest of your life."

We finished our coffee in silence.

“Well," he says getting up from his crate, throwing the hug bundle on his back,  “have to be on my way now.  I have a life time to walk.”

I watched him until he disappeared down the street.  I never saw him again.